4221.0 - Schools, Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/02/2004   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


In August 2003, there were 9,607 schools in Australia, of which 6,930 (72.1%) were government schools and 2,677 (27.9%) were non-government schools.

The number of combined primary/secondary schools has grown from 853 in 1993 to 1,106 in 2003 (an increase of 29.7%), with combined schools now representing 11.5% of all schools.


In 2003 there were 3,318,620 full-time school students, 67.9% of whom attended government schools.

Over the period 1993 to 2003, the number of full-time students attending government schools grew by 1.2%, while the number attending non-government schools increased by 22.3%.

There were 25,858 part-time school students in 2003, a decrease of 12.2% since 2002, and 1.5% higher than in 1998. Tasmania (Tas.) had the highest proportion of part-time students (3.1%), followed by South Australia (SA) (2.8%) and the Northern Territory (NT) (2.5%).

In 2003 there were 125,892 Indigenous full-time school students, a 3.5% increase since 2002. Just over 57% of Indigenous students attended schools in New South Wales (NSW) or Queensland (Qld).


At the Australian level, the age participation rates for full-time school students in 2003 were 93.5% for 15-year-olds, 82.7% for 16-year-olds and 62.7% for 17-year-olds, the latter rising from 60.7% in 1993.

graph - Participation Rates of Full Time Students Aged 17


In 2003 the apparent retention rate of full-time school students from Year 7/8 to Year 12 was 75.4% compared to 75.1% in 2002 and 76.6% in 1993. As in previous years, the apparent retention rate for females (80.7%) was significantly higher than the rate for males (70.3%).

Over the last decade the apparent retention rate from Year 10 to Year 12 decreased slightly from 77.5% in 1993 to 76.9% in 2003. The Year 10 to Year 12 rate for females in 2003 was again considerably higher than that for males (81.6% and 72.3% respectively).

Apparent retention rates for full-time Indigenous school students, from Year 7/8 to both Year 10 and Year 12, have continued to rise over the last five years - the rate to Year 10 increased from 83.3% in 1998 to 87.2% in 2003, and the rate to Year 12 increased from 32.1% to 39.1%.


There were 229,575 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff in 2003, 154,872 at government schools and 74,704 at non-government schools. This was an overall increase of 1.8% from the previous year.

The number of FTE teaching staff in government schools increased by 6.1% since 1998 compared to a 18.5% growth in non-government schools. In the year to 2003, government FTE school teacher numbers increased by 1.2% and non-government FTE school teacher numbers grew by 3.2%.

The proportion of FTE teaching staff who are female continues to rise - in 2003, 67.4% of all FTE teachers were female. The figure was 79.1% in primary schools and 55.3% in secondary schools. The comparable figures in 1998 were 65.5%, 77.5% and 53.5% respectively.

Overall, the average number of FTE primary school students per FTE teacher was 16.6. In government schools the average was 16.4 and in non-government schools it was 17.1. The equivalent figure for secondary schools was 12.4, with an average of 12.5 in government schools and 12.1 in non-government schools.